The mysteries of Egypt’s Pharaohs are famous worldwide. The lavish life of these Pharaohs is shown in the pages of their history but not more than what their recovered mummies narrate about their exuberant journey. Egypt is considered one of the most prosperous and wealthy nations in history and so are their glorious ways of letting the future know about their discreet legacy.
One of the most mysterious and renowned pharaohs of Egypt was Tutankhamun, and so was his half-sister and wife Queen Ankhesenamun. Ankhesenamun was born Princess Ankhesenpaaten sometime around 1350 B.C., the third of six known daughters born to King Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti.
The Ill fate of Ankhesenamun
Egypt was a different world, as it was experiencing a dramatic religious upheaval and a dynasty hung in the balance. Incestuous marriages among the ruling class weren’t unprecedented. Incest was accepted back then as the royals believe that by creating marriages within the family, they can keep the power for their own and keep the bloodline pure. Their power came with their myths, as locals believed that they were descendent of gods. And such was the fate fallen upon Ankhesenamun in the most disturbing way possible.
It was for these reasons that historians have discovered compelling evidence that Ankhesenamun have served as a bride for her father, Akhenaten after Nefertiti died. But she wasn’t alone, her two older sisters also conceived children for their father, Akhenaten. When Akenhaten died his son Tutankhamun came to power. Placed and with little time to consolidate power, the then young Tutankhamun wed his teenage sister, Ankhesenamun. Ankhesenamun was 7 years elder than Tutankhamun and she was not very satisfied with the marriage they had.
But despite the indifference, the couple quickly cleaned up the mess their father created by retreating from Akenhaten’s radical religious beliefs. It was a very frightening reign, as the king and the queen, both were too young to be making decisions. This was the reason the duo mostly relied on their advisors for political issues. Tutankhamun on the other hand was not just too young to be taking the throne but also physically incapable to be a king. His mummy suggests that he was frail and had trouble walking. Due to which he never himself participated in any war his reign survived. It was thought that his heirs might stabilize his reign but both the daughters from his only wife Ankhesenamun were stillborn.
Tut’s reign, though famous, was brief. He died young, at 19 leaving behind Ankhesenamun all by herself. Though Ankhesenamun was never satisfied with the marriage she had especially considering the fact that she first served the bride of her own father and then to her brother. Both stood far from her likes and dislikes, but she was protected. Her life after Tut became more difficult and frightening.
Ay, who was one of the closest advisors of the royal family and also the maternal grandfather of Ankhesenamun was the best-suited contender for the new king. Along with the throne, Ay, also had his eyes on his granddaughter. Disgusted by the idea of marrying her own grandfather who was more than double her age, Ankhesenamun send an undated letter to Suppiluliumas I, the king of the Hittites. In the letter, she makes a desperate plea for the Hittite leader to send one of his sons to marry her as her husband is dead and she has no children. Whoever marries her will also sit on the throne. The king of the Hittites quickly sends his oldest son Zannanza, however, he was assassinated on his journey, most probably at the hands of Ay. So, the rescue never came.
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When Ankhesenamun failed to find her a suitor, under pressure, she married Ay. Though she was greatly distraught at the decision, Ay was delighted- he even announced a royal celebration to celebrate his marriage. But this happiness was short-lived as Ankhesenamun disappears from the historical record sometime between 1325 and 1321 B. Many historians relate this absence to her death. Because no one knows what happened to her after marrying Ay, scholars referred her to King Tut’s wife as Egypt’s Lost Princess.
Ankhesenamun was perhaps the unluckiest queen of Egypt as her short-lived life never once experienced the happiness or true love that she too longed for.